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Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet became popular in the late 70s and 80s when low carb was the opposite to the much-promoted high grain diet pyramid. Many found that they lost body fat when a low carb diet was followed. It is a moderate fat diet and red meats are eaten sparingly. The foods included mean that Atkins is not a Ketogenic diet program. 

The current Atkins program has 4 phases:

  • Phase 1 is focused on fast weight loss. Commonly muscle and fat are lost in equal amounts.
  • Phase 2 is gradual weight loss. This is more sustainable and usually results in higher body fat loss. 
  • Phases 3 and 4 are focused on maintaining body weight and body composition. The stated benefit is increased energy. 

Atkins uses BMI as a measure to decide which phase you are best suited to, based on your current body weight. 

Phase 1: A high protein program

  • This is not suitable for vegetarians or vegans. 
  • Eating no less than 3 meals, but could be 5 smaller meals. Don’t go longer than 6 hours without food.
  • Protein intake ranges from 115-175g per meal. This can go up to 225g for taller men. 
  • Carbs are very low - just 20g per day. 12-15g of your carbs should come from cooked veggies and salad. 
  • Including a low iron multi vitamin and omega 3 supplements will help ensure that you are getting enough nutrients. (The low iron is to limit the chances of constipation during the high protein phase).
  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day. Other acceptable drinks can be substituted.

My comment would be to ensure that sauces and flavourings are limited. These are often high in sugar, so will totally blow out the carb intake. 

This protocol has been used for years to achieve rapid weight loss. It does work.  

In this process the goal is to help the individual to distinguish between hunger and habit. It is also moving the taste or pallet to a less sweet taste spectrum. 

The suggestion of drinking a glass of water when hungry and then waiting 10 minutes is a great way to help distinguish between hunger and habit. If you discover that you are only a little hungry at a scheduled meal time, a small low carb snack is recommended. 

The experience of many is to avoid acute hunger. When hungry we often go straight for high carb foods, which will undo all your good work. 

Phase 2: This is a more progressive weight loss program

The program recommends this phase after Phase 1 to help you continue with your weight loss journey. There is a greater variety of foods that are included in this part of the Atkins program. 

Those who do not want a highly restricted diet or are vegetarian should start in Phase 2. Also those who want to lose 7kg or less should start in Phase 2. 

Phase 2 will help you determine your carb tolerance level. There will be a level where your carb level will stop you losing weight. This carb tolerance level is a sticking point for vegans and vegetarians who want to loose weight. It is harder to eat low carb when dense proteins are removed from the menu.  

The idea is to increase carbs very slowly, only an extra 5g a week, up to 40g. Nuts, seeds and berries can be added as well as some cheeses. 

Phase 3: Maintaining your weight loss

This Phase is for helping you create a long term eating program that will allow you to maintain your weight loss. Making your new eating style your long term habit. 

Phase 3 is used by those who are at a good BMI range and want to find more energy. This phase will also help you find your carb tolerance. It is suggested that you increase your carb intake by 10g a week. 

There is a high level of listening and observing your body to find the perfect level of food and activity.  

Phase 4: Going low carb for life!

This is the lifestyle and long term phase. You now have the knowledge and experience to achieve your goals. If you find that you put on body fat, you can use your knowledge to alter your menu to drop your carbs by 10 to 20g a day to regain your edge. 

You will use the Phase 3 food list to stay on track. Balancing any increase in carbs with a drop in fats will help in limiting body fat gain. 

You can see that there is a level of overlay with Keto/Paleo. The main difference is that the Keto/Paleo program has higher fat levels. 

Many will feel more comfortable with the Atkins program, as the fat levels are lower. The belief that high fats lead to heart disease is not fully supported by the current evidence. My belief is that high inflammation levels are what makes a high fat diet problematic. The truth is that any diet will be problematic when inflammation is high. 

Both Atkins and Keto have their main benefits in the reduction of inflammation that follows when a diet is rich in low GI vegetables. 

Getting personal is the key to your individual success. The knowledge base within the Hands on Superhealth team will provide you with the guidance to help you achieve your goals. 

Book an appointment for a personal review of your pantry and match it to your goals.